I am a huge believer in the value of blood tests for identifying underlying inflammation. All you have to do is ask my patients to know this to be true. Which is why I was thrilled to come across a new study that shows how 12 different inflammatory and immune markers can help predict the development of diabetes.
Unfortunately, chances are your doctor is not looking at them–but he should be!
The new study was published in Diabetes Care. And it shows how ongoing monitoring of changes in these 12 biomarkers can help doctors track the progression of prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and the health complications that go along with them.
The 12 biomarkers include white blood cells (WBCs), granulocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, platelets, C-reactive protein (CRP), albumin, fibrinogen, hematocrit, interleukin-18 (IL-18), IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), and neopterin.
Now I will admit that even I don’t test all 12 of those markers. But I only leave out the last four–the rest are part of the standard blood panel test I have all of my patients get. And this new study adds to the reasons why…
First of all, previous research has proven that chronic, low-grade inflammation is associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes. And that level of inflammation is easily identified just by looking at C-reactive protein, white blood cell counts, or even fibrinogen levels, which can all be elevated years before the disease starts.
Now, thanks to this new research, we have at least four more things to look out for in the various biomarkers and how they may shift over time.
Researchers analyzed the data of nearly 15,000 patients. Participants were categorized into three groups based on their HbA1c levels. The HbA1c test shows the average level of sugar in the blood over the past 3 months and is used to determine whether you are diabetic, prediabetic, or normal.
The majority of the group (81 percent) had no diabetes, 9.5 percent had prediabetes, and 8.7 percent had type 2 diabetes. After analyzing the 12 different biomarkers and the differences between each group, the researchers identified some clear variations.
For example, the median concentrations of white blood cells, granulocytes, monocytes, IL-1RA, IL-18, and fibrinogen all increased from one group to the other. And median concentrations of lymphocytes and C-reactive protein were increased in prediabetes compared to those with normal blood sugar levels.
Some of the findings get quite complicated, so I won’t get into all of the details here. But I think you get the picture.
What’s more, researchers found some interesting insights into the role of some of the immune biomarkers and the development of diabetes-related complications.
For example, higher concentrations of white blood cells and granulocytes were associated with diabetic retinopathy. This is a common condition in diabetics caused by damage to the tiny blood vessels that feed the retina in the eye. And higher concentrations of lymphocytes and C-reactive protein were linked with neuropathy.
And those are just two examples of many other clear associations between these biomarkers and additional health complications.
All good news, right? Finally, we have some clear, early indicators of the progression of the biggest epidemic in America right now…
But not so fast!
Read this quote from one of the lead researchers associated with this study (I think you’ll see my frustration with mainstream docs these days)…
“Although the study findings do not have a direct impact on clinical practice now, they might contribute to…improvement in the diagnosis of early disease states, the optimization of risk assessment of patients, and potentially the development of new interventions and therapeutic strategies [for type 2 diabetes].”
What do you mean the findings won’t have a direct impact on clinical practice now? If not now, then when?!
These biomarkers certainly have a bearing on my clinical practice every single day. I have been using many of these numbers and results for years to help assess patient risk and diagnosis. And I can assure you, there are plenty of therapeutic strategies and interventions that are available and effective right now. Strategies that can douse the inflammation and even throw the progression of the disease into reverse.
In fact, I have been using these strategies for so long now, with so many patients, and with such successful results that I have finally found the time to document all the details and put it together in a way to share it effectively with everyone. I’ll be sharing all the details on this new program in the coming weeks, so be sure to keep checking your inbox.
In the meantime…of course, the driving factor behind this researcher’s laughable conclusions and thousands of others like him is, none of these strategies involves a “mainstream” therapeutic approach…i.e. drugs.
Blood tests tell many tales and finally research is beginning to catch up…so the mainstream pundits can try to understand them. But like I said, my non-conventional colleagues and I have been making use of this information for decades.
I told you a lot here about what your doc should be looking for, but I also want to point you to a past Logical Health Alternatives feature article I wrote in December 2011, called “Taking your blood panel beyond the basics.” If you’re not already a paid subscriber, you can sign up here. I guarantee you, access to this past article alone is well worth the $37 it costs for a full year’s subscription and everything else that comes with it.
Though I wrote it over three and a half years ago, the blood-panel article remains a helpful go-to for my patients and their loved ones who want to make sure they get bloodwork that’s truly thorough–something a lot of docs, in their rushed 30-minute annual physical, sadly don’t give a hoot about. But it’s something you need to demand of your doctor. And if he can’t accommodate you, find one who will.
There is a company that now offers blood testing direct-to-consumer, called DirectLabs®. They have a few different pre-determined screenings available. I recommend either the CardioPlus blood panel or the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. Just be sure to take your results to a qualified practitioner to help you read them and determine your course of action. For more on DirectLabs® and their blood test services, go to www.DirectLabs.com/OVH1. To find a qualified practitioner near you, check out the American College for Advance in Medicine at www.acam.org or The International & American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists at www.iaacn.org.
For more on the strategies you can follow to lower your numbers and even reverse diabetes, keep watching your inbox for the release of my new Metabolic Repair Protocol, which is in final production now. Readers of my daily Reality Health Check and monthly Logical Health Alternatives will have exclusive first access.
Profile of the Immune and Inflammatory Response in Individuals With Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care. April 15, 2015.
Inflammatory Marker Profile Shifts as Type 2 Diabetes Develops. Medscape Medical News, May 1, 2015. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/844081